It’s time to stop paying for things you don’t need. As the cost of living increases, so too does our reliance on credit.
According to the Choice Consumer Pulse Report, Australians are dipping into their savings, delaying purchases and turning to credit cards to make ends meet between paydays.
Of those surveyed, one third said they find it difficult to get by on their current income.
If you’re trying to increase your savings, or pay off debt, here are ten hidden expenses you may have overlooked:
1. Credit card surcharges
One of the pitfalls of our increasingly cashless society is the credit card surcharge. This is particularly noticeable in many locations if you try to use American Express instead of MasterCard or Visa. If you use your credit card for payments that tack on a surcharge, these charges quickly add up. To avoid needlessly throwing your money away, plan your purchases ahead and ensure you have cash on hand or choose EFTPOS and use your savings instead of your credit.
2. Online grocery shopping
People often talk about the convenience that online shopping provides, but it comes at a price. Though it is indeed possible to find savings online, both of the major Australian supermarkets have been known to charge up to 60c extra per item, in addition to the delivery fee of between $3 and $13. These extra costs add up quickly, and you can soon find yourself out of pocket. Before signing up for online shopping, compare prices you find online with those in store of all the items you purchase regularly just to be shopping wise, and consider picking up your online shopping at the store to get out of paying the delivery charge.
3. Peak electricity charges
If your dishwasher or washing machine has a delayed timer function, set it to run during off-peak hours when you’re not paying the premium electricity rate. Utilising off-peak rates can save you a small amount on each use, but those amounts will add up and before you know it your electricity bill will be coming down. If you’re unsure when your off-peak periods are then look at your most recent bill or call your provider.
4. Aggressive driving
Being a calm driver and not aggressively accelerating or breaking can lengthen the time between visits to the pump. Fuel prices are going down, so you’ll make extra savings.
5. Home loan features you don’t need
When it comes to choice, the home loan market has it all. If your current loan package has features you don’t need but are still paying for, such as redraw facilities or an offset account, perhaps it’s time to have a chat with your bank manager and find a new deal.
6. Account fees
Have you had your bank account, credit card or home loan for many years without looking at your statements? Did you know that many banks no longer have account keeping fees for new accounts, yet continue to charge fees for all existing accounts? Contact your financial provider to see if you’re paying too much on your existing bank accounts and loans.
7. The wrong health insurance policy
Health insurance is often considered a necessity these days, yet not everyone has the right policy for his or her needs. A single person with no kids won’t need the same cover as a family, for example. Health insurance premiums are pegged to increase this year, so now is a good time to get a quote on the health you actually require from multiple insurers and make sure you have the best deal.
8. Unused subscriptions
One of the fastest ways to see your hard-earned cash disappear is by paying for subscriptions that you don’t actually use. Whether it’s a Spotify account, Foxtel TV, an online magazine subscription, or even a gym membership, if you’re not utilising the service then you’re just wasting money. Take stock of your current subscriptions and direct debits and consider whether you need them anymore. If not, then cut them loose.
9. Only filling petrol when you run out
Rather than getting petrol only when the tank is empty, you can make savings by filling up on certain days of the week. Most metro petrol stations operate on a 10-22 day cycle. It may be a Tuesday that fuel prices are at their cheapest, or it may be a Thursday. Monitor the pricing cycle at your local petrol station and fill up on the cheapest day rather than paying top dollar when your desperate.
10. Late payment penalties
If you have a bill due on a certain date, there’s no point waiting until that date has passed to make the payment. All you’re doing is tempting fate to add a late payment fee onto your next bill. Those $15 fees are avoidable, and if you just allow them to be charged every month then you’re essentially throwing money down the drain.
Source: Yahoo Money Hound